Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Science on my iPod

I have been busy but want to get back into the habit of more frequent blogs again. I will kick that off by posting something I have meant to for a long time: the science and tech podcasts I listen to on a regular basis. Some of these are tech, some science, some specifically astronomy. I know there are a lot of great shows out there and I can't listen to them all so feel free to add your favorites in the comments. All of these are free subscriptions so there is no excuse not to try them if you think they look interesting!

I am putting these in alphabetical order since that's the way they display on iTunes!

Are We Alone : AWA as it is known is a weekly podcast from the SETI Institute. Seth Shostak, Molly Bentley and the gang tackle a different topic each week in a lighthearted, humorous manner, interviewing a wide variety of scientists in the process.

Astronomy Cast : Pamela Gay and Fraser Cain take you on a weekly facts based journey through the cosmos in the form of an informal conversation. If I ever go back to teaching, I would love to use this series instead of a textbook for an introductory astronomy course. Yes, it's that good.

Buzz Out Loud : BOL is a daily podcast "of indeterminate length" about developments in the tech world. Quirky, funny and informative. You will be hooked after you hear your first "Molly rant".

Geologic Podcast : Not quite a hard science/tech podcast but I think it belongs here anyway. Skeptic/musician George Hrab, well how to describe it. He can talk passionately about music, science, skepticism and any other weird thing that happens to him that week. Careful if you listen to it in the gym...I don't want anyone dropping weights on themselves from laughter!

IT Conversations : IT Convserations is a channel dedicated to information technology. I found them carrying the series Tech Nation with Dr. Moria Gunn. There is much more here as they carry talks from TED and many annual meetings including the O'Reilly Emerging Media Conference, Web 2.0, Where 2.0, Emerging Telephony and many others. I don't listen to every show in this feed because there are so many and lots of them are very technical in areas outside my areas of interest (although I imagine others would love them). Still there are a lot of gems in this feed.

Lab Out Loud : The National Science Teacher's Association podcast. Targeted at science teachers but frequently has interviews that would interest a general audience as well.

Naked Astronomy : Monthly podcast on astronomy news with typical British humor.

The Naked Scientists : Weekly science podcast with British wit (this week: What makes mucas green?)

Nature Podcast : Weekly podcast from the journal Nature, one of the big names in science journals.

Science Friday : NPR's weekly podcast with Ira Flatow that covers current science stories.

Skepticality : The official podcast of Skeptic magazine features interviews with noted skeptics and scientists.

The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe : "Your Escape to Reality" starts each show. SGU takes on pseudoscience, medical quackery, and doomsday nonsense every week. They will feel like old friends after a few weeks.

Skeptoid : Brian Dunning's short (~10 minutes) weekly podcast takes on a different topic each week. Well researched and entertaining.

This Week in Science : "The Kick Ass Science Podcast" is the tag line. They do their best to live up to it with fun and interesting conversations on the latest science news.

This Week in Tech : A long and leisurely review of the week's tech news with Leo Laporte and friends.

WNYCs Radio Lab : Radio Lab is a very well produces series that explores different topics in science. My big complaint is that they don't air episodes more frequently, but they put a lot of time and effort into each show.

The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast : Originally conceived for the International Year of Astronomy in 2009, it just keeps going. Each day features about a 10 minute podcast on a different topic produced by professional and amateur astronomers from around the world. I am producing one a month for the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (we have the 17th of each month), work on the Dark Skies podcasts we produce and do some on topics of personal interest as well.

As you can tell, I listen to a lot of podcasts while running, at the gym, commuting and at home. With all the free content out there presented in different styles, there is no excuse not to be well informed (oh, and I listen to things OTHER than science podcasts as well, but that is another blog!)

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.


kkdither said...

I tried podcasts, but I do so much better with written or visual material. I loaned a book on tape once from the library and my attention span waned so much, I couldn't even figure out the characters. :(

hale-bopp said...

I love podcasts obviously, but have the same problem you do with audio books. I think since I grew up reading novels, I am used to processing plots, characters and descriptions through the written word. The podcasts listen have different elements to hem so it seems natural to process that type of information to me.